THE BOARD OF INFORMATION, AND MUD...
After many months, even a year or two, of design and discussion, construction and installation, our project to install the two information boards at two of the entrances to Three Cornered Copse is completed.
Last month, Neil, our Park Ranger, and his team installed the second notice board at the southern entrance to the lane leading up to the copse. We had to wait until the building works in that corner had finished, but having raised the money and engaged the designer and manufacturer, it now stands in place, hopefully for many years to come. Our thanks to the designer, local artist Jamie Eke, and to the James Gray Collection for the use of their photographs.
However, what the information board does not tell visitors is that most of the copse is virtually impassable due to the wet weather that has turned the paths to mud. Only the sure footed and determined have been able to negotiate the copse in recent weeks, after one of the wettest season our members can remember. Perhaps the autumn of 2000 came close, where record rainfalls turned many of our parks to floods and streams. Since May 2019 rainfall in Sussex has been well above the mean value, peaking in December where it reached almost twice the average.
Despite the mud, shoots of cow parsley, snowdrops and the occasional daffodil are beginning to surface. It's hard to believe that in a few weeks the ground will harden and the greenery will return.
A recent inspection of the copse by the council's contractors confirmed that some ash dieback has been found, which is unwelcome news. According to The Woodland Trust, the UK may lose up to 95% of its ash population, due to the fungus. The spores of the fungus may have come from ash saplings we imported as late as 2012 from infected areas in other parts of Europe. Unfortunately our native species have not evolved resistance to the infection. It may take as long as 50 years for the resistant ash strains to thrive once again, so the look of our countryside will be going through some changes in the next few years.
All the more reason to take a stroll through the copse (after the mud season) and identify some of the huge ash trees in the wood before they succumb, and have a glance at the information board as you pass through.